Ask a Rochesterian what kind of grub you can get around here and they’ll tell you the big ROC has got some kickin’ BBQ. There are really only two joints still standing in the fight for the seat of the North’s best Southern comfort food, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Sticky Lips. Dino may currently claim the title of America’s Best Barbecue according to a Good Morning America Poll, but we’re not so sure the Sticky Lips gang should be driven out of town just yet.  Because what would a rootin’ tootin’ rack of ribs be without its side-kicks? We faced off two glistening racks of ribs and several sides to give you the lowdown on this showdown.

#1 Fried Green Tomatoes

fried green tomatoes-2

Left: Dino. Right: Sticky Lips. Photo by Isabelle Chu.

The Winner: Sticky Lips

When you order fried food, you really want some crisp to drown out the sound of your arteries clogging. Though Dino’s tomatoes were better seasoned, the soggy crust just fell flat. It didn’t help that Sticky Lips’s  Spicy Cajun Buttermilk Ranch dressing was so lip smackin’ it was nearly drinkable.

#2 Mac and Cheese


Left: Sticky Lips. Right: Dino. Photo by Rebecca Block.

The Winner: Dino

As far as cheesy eye candy goes, Sticky Lips’s mac and cheese was more appealing. But, even Velveeta can’t stand up to a homemade, peppery mac sauce. Dino kept it traditional, and that’s what makes comfort food so comforting.

#3 Mashed Potatoes

The Winner: Dino

Sticky Lips’s mashed potatoes had some serious potential, but all hopes were dashed by the gravy’s excessive salt content.  Dino’s well-seasoned, thick and rich mashed potatoes swept up the win despite an otherwise boring, brown gravy.

#4 Cornbread


Left: Dino. Right: Sticky Lips. Photo by Rebecca Block.

The Winner: Sticky Lips

At almost three times the height of Dino’s, Sticky Lips’s cornbread was not only monstrous but also moist, fluffy and sweet. Dino was beginning to disappoint after its dry and dense “leftover” cornbread.

The Final Round: Barbecue Ribs


Left: Dino. Right: Sticky Lips. Photo by Rebecca Block.

The Winner: Dino

Dino smoked Sticky Lip’s chewy, overcooked, under-sauced and under-cared for ribs. By comparison, Dino’s  were everything we could ask for: sweet, smoky, fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

Overall: Dino

When Sticky Lips succeeded, it soared and when it fell, it hit the ground with a splat. I think what really did it for us were the ribs; a barbecue joint has got to put some love into its meats. Dino’s ribs were spot-on, its sides smartly seasoned and it boasts some killer mac and cheese. So the next time you’re craving some barbecue, go with Dino, but have a reservation. Fridays and Saturdays can book out a week in advance and waits on weeknights have been known to exceed two and a half hours. You’d think they had a real, living dinosaur on display… or maybe their  barbecue is just that good. We certainly thought so.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que


Hours: Mon-Thu: 11:00am-11:00pm, Fri-Sat: 11:00am-1:00am, Sun: 12:00pm-10:00pm
Location:99 Court Street, Rochester, NY

Sticky Lips Pit BBQ


Hours: Mon-Tue: 11:00am-9:00pm, Wed-Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm, Sun: 12:00pm-9:00pm
Location: 625 Culver Road, Rochester NY

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